Evidence Accumulates for Links Between Marijuana and Psychosis

A number of studies in recent years have revealed complex links between marijuana use and psychotic symptoms and diagnosable psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. Although a thorough review of this broad literature is beyond the purview of this brief communication, two avenues of research will be succinctly summarized, pertaining to (1) associations between cannabis use and clinical manifestations of psychosis, and (2) the biologic plausibility of the observed links.
Cannabis and Psychosis

Diverse studies suggest that cannabis use is associated with psychotic phenomenology. First, in addition to being the most abused illicit substance in the general US population, cannabis is clearly the most abused illegal drug among individuals with schizophrenia.[1,2] Furthermore, the initiation of cannabis use among those with psychotic disorders often precedes the onset of psychosis by several years.[1,3,4] Second, cannabis use in adolescence is increasingly recognized as an independent risk factor for psychosis and schizophrenia.[5-7] That is, several epidemiologic studies suggest that cannabis use is a component cause of schizophrenia.[8,9]

By Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health

Submitted by SARDAA

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